Utah governor ask lawmakers for "open mind" on gun control

Spenser Heaps/The Deseret News via AP, Pool, File

Something no governor wants to face is a mass shooting. Having to face the families of those slain has got to be tough, especially when you suspect they’ll blame you for whatever reason.

But in Utah, Gov. Spencer Cox appears to be preemptively freaking out about mass shootings that haven’t happened.

Why else start asking legislators to keep an “open mind” on gun reform?

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said Thursday he’s grateful the state hasn’t seen a mass school shooting, but he believes the odds are “it will happen in the state of Utah one day.”

“And I’m probably going to have to be the one to stand in front of those parents and look them in the eye, and it’s going to be devastating if I can’t, in good faith, say we tried to do something,” Cox said during his monthly PBS news conference.

He said he’s asked individual state legislators to “please keep an open mind,” eliminate their biases “and let’s have a conversation and see if there are some things that we can come together on.”

Cox pointed to the difficulty of the debate, noting that he has “a hard time” listening to those who say preventing gun violence is “all about guns,” but he also has a hard time listening to those who say it “isn’t about guns at all.”

So, Cox just admitted how squishy he is on the Second Amendment. Absolutely amazing.

Now, understand that Utah is a pretty gun-friendly state. They’ve had campus carry for those with permits for ages now, a fact that has likely contributed to them not having such shootings.

In fact, concealed carry is restricted far less in Utah than in most other states.

All of that likely contributes to the fact that the state doesn’t have the same number of mass shootings as, say, California.

That’s something Cox may want to think about as he’s trying to push the GOP-controlled legislature to embrace gun control. That and any hope he may have of a second term.

The truth of the matter is that yes, guns play a role in mass shootings, but not the one Cox is apparently thinking. Utah hasn’t seen such tragedy not in spite of its gun-friendly status, but because of it.

Look, if I wanted to kill a bunch of people, I’d want the kind of target where there are crowds and where there’s little likelihood of someone being able to shoot back. That means gun-free zones, preferably, and Utah has a lack of those.

They still exist, after all, since Utah does permit property owners to declare their property as gun-free, but you have to know which places have that status in the first place.

As such, it’s evidence that gun rights are herd immunity against mass shootings.

Cox would do well to consider that with an open mind instead of trying to push an agenda that would infringe on the right to keep and bear arms for the residents of that state.